The State Bar of Wisconsin reports that a lemon law case in Wisconsin may head to the state’s Supreme Court to determine “the proper burden of proof” if an auto manufacturer claims a consumer acted in bad faith.
Under the Wisconsin lemon law, a manufacturer is required to refund a consumer’s money within 30 days if the vehicle does not conform to its warranty after a reasonable number of repair attempts have failed. If a manufacturer fails to meet this deadline, they are subject to double damages, attorney fees, and other costs.
The case focuses on a man who sued Mercedes-Benz USA LLC after they failed to give him a refund within 30 days. The auto manufacturer claimed the consumer acted “in bad faith” because he failed to provide them with the information necessary to meet the refund deadline. Although the trial court ruled for the man, an appeals court held that a consumer is not entitled to damages under the Wisconsin lemon law if he intentionally impedes a manufacturer’s attempt to give a refund. The appeals court remanded the case to the trial court to determine whether the man acted in bad faith.
At trial, the man argued that Mercedes-Benz should be required to prove that he acted in bad faith by clear, convincing evidence. The manufacturer claimed a lesser burden applied and that they should be required to prove the man’s bad faith “by the greater weight of the credible evidence to a reasonable certainty.” The court sided with the manufacturer and applied the lesser burden of proof and a jury also ruled in favor of Mercedes-Benz. However, the court granted the man’s post-verdict motion and concluded he was entitled to a refund. The case was then sent to the Wisconsin Supreme Court to determine the burden of proof issue only.
If you have purchased a vehicle in California and believe it may be a lemon, contact Los Angeles lemon law attorney Howard D. Silver. He can help you understand your rights under the California lemon law. Call (855) 341-2611 today.